According to Forbes, by 2025, roughly 75 percent of the global workforce will be millennials. Currently in Zimbabwe, about 30 percent of the population are millennials. The corporate cultures of most large organizations will be directly shaped by this generation’s habits and expectations.
According to a global study released by Deloitte this month, executives lack confidence that they have the right talent in place to be successful in Industry 4.0. They say they are doing all they can to build the right workforce, but their responses show talent remains low on their list of priorities.
Only a quarter of executives are highly confident they have the right workforce composition and the skill sets needed for the future.
However, talent and HR are a relatively low priority (17 percent), despite 86 percent of executives saying they are doing everything they can to create a better-prepared workforce for this new era.
The study further goes on to expose the truth behind Baby Boomers and Gen X executives and their understanding of traditional organisational structures. The truth is that many executives recognize the changes Industry 4,0 portends, but are not sure how to capitalize on the opportunities.
In fact, according to Deloitte and Hitachi, just 14 percent of surveyed executives feel highly confident that their organizations are ready to fully harness the opportunities associated with Industry 4,0.
One reason for this lack of confidence could be that many executives also continue to focus on traditional business operations, as opposed to focusing on opportunities to create new value for their direct and indirect stakeholders.
For example, when asked what topics they discuss most frequently as an organization over the course of a year, topping their list were developing business products (57 percent) and increasing productivity (56 percent).
However, topping the list of priorities should actually be developing a new set of approaches in areas such as talent, cyber risk and competitive disruption.
“These are areas in which Industry 4.0 (organisations) can, for example, help deliver continuous learning, tap new sources of talent, reach underserved markets, offer predictive tools to help improve processes and reduce risk, connect supply chains, create new ecosystems, enable more agile systems that can adapt and respond to changes in real time and much more” states the report.
Driven by accelerating connectivity, new talent models and cognitive tools, work is changing. As robotics, AI, and the gig economy, for example, are on the rise, jobs are being reinvented, creating the augmented workforce. Reconsideration must be made of how jobs are designed and work to adapt and learn for future growth.
With all this data in mind, providing an environment where people feel valued, independent and part of a team will be more important than ever. While office perks and eccentric benefits were once considered a priority for millennials, recent data from global studies shows that other facets of work can matter more.
So what does the future work place look like and what matters most to the employee of the future? Top on the list is flexibility. Nearly 75 percentof this generation thinks that a “work from home” or “work remotely” policy is important, according to a Deloitte study from last year.
The internet has made it easier to send and receive information. Local internet service providers (ISPs) have made it more affordable to have relatively fast internet installed in one’s home.
Tools of trade is another major governing factor for creating a conducive working environment. The average millennial believes that working in an environment that doesn’t have modern tools and resources is unimaginable.
This walks hand in hand with the organisation’s adoption ad understanding of technology. Zimbabwean organisations have an ingrained love for meetings. But recent studies have shown that the ‘meeting culture’ is not as desirable for the new workforce.
In fact, 41 percent of millennials say they prefer communicating electronically at work, rather than face to face or over the phone, according to a PwC commissioned study. Technology is seen as an enabler for team collaboration if used for productivity instead of as a distraction.
In summary, creating an attractive and sustainable workplace that looks more like the future than the past is one of the most meaningful things that organizations can do to secure the best workers of the millennial generation.
It is important that businesses remain cognisant of the future and how the concept and nature of work will inevitably change. This is especially true for Zimbabwe, where it is easy to fall into the traditionalist trap, given the country’s lagging in regards to technological advancements.
Even though Zimbabwe is open for business, it still remains a challenge for organisations to engage and keep the young talent it needs to drive organisations towards a competitive and relevant future. Other industries are continuing to be disrupted by well-financed startups and innovative newcomers, therefore, the fight for survival and talent retention will become more challenging.